A city boy goes country, briefly

During the summer, when New York is sleepy and quiet, I resist leaving the city for weekends in the country.

By staying home, I avoid packing and unpacking, long car trips, and lumpy beds. Why leave when I have my own summer place at my doorstep? Measuring 843 acres, bounded by 59th and 110th Streets, it goes by the name Central Park.

Lest I be thought provincial, or hostile to family and friends, I do venture out of the city on occasion. In July I spent a weekend with friends at Cooperstown, N.Y.

What a contrast to my usual surroundings! To look out the bedroom window and see, not buildings and water tanks on rooftops, but cows. And these cows move, unlike the 500 life-size fiberglass sculptures of cows recently on display throughout the city.

We walk through hayfields filled with bright wildflowers. The ground underfoot is soft, unlike the city's concrete sidewalks. Magnificent clouds glide across the immense blue sky.

At night, no sirens or trucks grinding garbage.

Life in the country is less complex than city life. Here, as an example, is a telephone message on my host's answering machine:

"Hello. I live at the top of Pink Street, on the corner where your Red Creek Farm is. There's a horse walking down our street. It looks like one of yours. Could it possibly be? Right now it's down about as far as Mrs. Stokes's house, heading toward your farm. I'll see what I can do."

In New York, this event would occasion frantic calls to 911 and the arrival of police and maybe even the fire department.

Postscript: Two days after returning to the city, during a driving rainstorm, I came upon a police horse walking down the sidewalk at 49th Street, between 7th and 8th Avenues. Why the horse and its rider were on the sidewalk, I do not know.

Dialing 911 seemed redundant, so I continued on my way.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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